The mental hygiene is a concept that is used to define the set of activities that allow a person to be in equilibrium with its sociocultural environment.
Behaviors that encompass mental hygiene are aimed at preventing negative behaviors in the social context. They also seek to provide emotional stability and increase the quality of life of people.
According to this construct of psychology, each person has an individual control over its functioning, which allows him to regulate his state of integration and well-being.
The purpose of this article is to present the bases and meanings of mental hygiene, and to provide ten basic elements for its attainment.
The concept of mental hygiene
Being in harmony with the socio-cultural environment is an essential task for the well-being of every person. However, there are often elements and obstacles that can complicate their achievement.
The concept of mental hygiene defends the capacity and the autonomy of each individual for the attainment of such objectives. In this way, the barriers that can hamper the balance with the socio-cultural environment are in the background.
Every person has the capacity to find the behaviors that provide him with well-being and to carry them out. The individuals, who get it, gradually build a gratifying reality for them.
However, not performing mental health behaviors, as well as conducting harmful or harmful behaviors, can put in question the quality of life of the person.
In this sense, mental hygiene configures all the elements that a subject has to develop to be in harmony. The realization of such actions will have a direct beneficial effect on the person, and on the sociocultural relations that surround him.
Do you want to know what behaviors are basic in achieving balance and harmony with the environment? Here I outline the 10 activities that are the main ones in achieving mental hygiene.
10 tips for mental health
1- Satisfaction of basic needs
The first step in developing mental hygiene is the satisfaction of basic needs. .
It is about finding a balance between those more primary needs and the behaviors we carry out.
To lead a satisfactory diet, to rest properly, to have sexual relations when we require it … All these activities satisfy a biological necessity. When repressed, both our physical state and our emotional state are destabilized.
Thus, the first requirement to be taken into account when reaching a state of total harmony is to achieve an adequate internal balance.
Do not try to make a very strict diet that causes you discomfort to lose weight. Do not reduce your excess sleep time to increase your activity. Do not hold back your sexual needs consistently.
These actions are carried out very frequently in our society. However, the result is a personal imbalance. Try to harmonize these basic aspects, with the aim of not reducing your quality of life.
2- Caring for self-esteem
Satisfying basic needs will bring you a minimum of balance, but it will not make sure that you are well with yourself.
In fact, in order to get it, you have to accept yourself as you are, to please and above all, to love yourself.
This aspect is highly important because if you do not love yourself it will cost a lot to love others. Likewise, if one is not well with oneself, it will be difficult for him to be in balance with his socio-cultural environment.
Encouraging self-esteem does not consist in believing oneself to be the best, that no one does things just as well as oneself, or that they possess better aptitudes than the rest.
In fact, self-esteem is not a comparative concept. Rather, lack of self-esteem appears with over-comparison with others.
So, caring for self-esteem is about loving oneself. Accept and value what you are.
If the first step of love is not done by you, rarely will others. Just as if the first person you want is not yourself, you will hardly have the capacity to love others.
These factors show the very high relevance of self-esteem for the achievement of mental hygiene. In order to be well with others, it is necessary to be well with oneself first.
3- Positive evaluation of others
Once a positive self-assessment has been made and self-esteem has been enhanced, it is necessary to value others as well.
If people are valued negatively around them, relationships will be affected and will gradually deteriorate.
Stop thinking. Why do you keep in touch with each of the people who make up your social circle? What is the reason why you share different aspects of your lives?
Of sure that if you formulate these questions you will get very varied answers for each one of the individuals.
In addition, you will notice that each of the people in your social environment is present because they bring something positive in your life. And surely you bring something positive in yours.
In this way, making positive evaluations about the others will allow you to improve the image you have on them, and facilitate the relationship. However, when negative assessments are made, the relationship is distanced, its quality deteriorates, and this can become harmful.
Positively valuing others does not mean that they have to idolize or that everything they do has to be rewarded. But it does imply a greater attention to the positive that did the negative of the people we appreciate.
4- Care of social relations
On the other hand, not only do we have to take care of the image we have about the people around us, but we also have to work for the relationship to be satisfactory.
In fact, those relationships that do not take care end up dying or even but, eventually, they are harmful.
Just as you maintain a relationship because it brings you, the other person maintains it because it brings you.
And even more, personal and social relationships are always bidirectional. That is, we have a relationship because in it we can give and receive.
So, it is very important to have personal relationships in mind and dedicate time and effort to them to function properly.
Performing this task allows a satisfactory social circle to be maintained and, in addition, constitutes one of the main sources of personal gratification.
5- Proper management of emotions
The management of emotions involves the development of self – control, in such a way that we acquire the capacity to modulate the sensations we experience.
When you let go of your emotions and you do not have the capacity to manage them, you usually do not end up making the best decision for your interests.
Learning to manage emotions does not imply eliminating them or taking them into account for our functioning. In fact, there are times when it is beneficial or even necessary to use them to act correctly.
However, there are many other times when it is important to limit its intensity and prevent negative emotions from being exceeded.
Without management of emotions it is likely to act badly on many occasions, and this can take on both personal and relational.
Thus, exercising the insertion of reason whenever an emotion appears, to assess how it should be managed, is a vital process of mental hygiene.
6- Coping with situations
Although all those actions that lead to the state of personal and social harmony, complicated situations can appear with ease.
In fact, the appearance of complications is a situation that in many cases cannot be controlled. At that time, the model of coping that is applied is of great importance.
Each situation requires a different coping, even multiple coping styles may be appropriate in the same situation.
However, what is unquestionable is that coping, whatever it is is indispensable in complex situations.
People need to take a leading role in their lives. If problems are not addressed, discomfort often multiplies and personal balance can be called into question.
7- Positive thinking
Often situations and events that happen cannot be modified. But what we can always manage is what we think about what happened.
Negative thinking often appears automatically, and cannot be avoided. However, yes you can decide how far you want to extend.
In order to be emotionally well, people need positive thoughts to encompass most of their cognition. When this does not happen, negative feelings appear that lead to a state of discomfort.
In this way, it is important to maximize positive thoughts and, above all, to ensure that negative thoughts do not acquire a leading role.
In any situation, however bad, it can always develop a positive thinking.
This is the goal of every person who wants to be well with him and with others. Try to make negative things affect as little as possible and always find a positive aspect that can improve or mitigate them.
8- Setting Goals
People need to have goals in their life. Without them, you can fall into monotony and the illusion can go away.
To live in a cheerful and motivated way without illusion is a task practically impossible to reach. For this reason, it is vital to continually set new goals.
Goals can span any aspect of an individual’s life. Whether it’s the work, the personal, the social, the relational…
In this way, you can continuously set new goals in your life, regardless of their qualities or characteristics.
It is important that the objectives that you establish meet two essential requirements.
In the first place, you have to contribute something positive, that is to say, your achievement has to transmit some kind of gratification or feeling satisfactory. Otherwise, the objective will be indifferent and will not fulfill its motivating function.
Secondly, it is important that the objective is rationally achievable. Imagining goals in an abstract way or with components that are interpreted as unreachable will automatically distract you from them, and will not give you motivation in your day to day life.
9- Pleasant activities
Personal satisfaction should not only be obtained from oneself and from the performance one carries out, but also one can and must obtain from external stimuli.
Sure there are many activities that give you gratification simply by performing them. Also, sure there are many elements that can cause you satisfaction.
It can be very enjoyable for a person to go to the movies on Saturday afternoons, to stay with friends for dinner or to go on Sundays. Another person, on the other hand, can be very gratifying to buy a new book or go running every day.
It is important that you know what activities are pleasing to you and do not deprive them of them. Often a bad day, a worry or a situation that causes you discomfort can stop affecting you having a good time.
In other cases, performing these activities can be your source of motivation to perform other less rewarding tasks.
In any case, pleasurable activities play a major role in achieving a good emotional state and an optimal quality of life.
10- Physical activity
Finally, physical exercise is one of the activities that cause greater welfare. In addition, they provide gratification in a direct way.
Multiple studies have shown how physical activity is highly beneficial to improve mood, reduce tension and anxiety, promote self-esteem and improve quality of life.
All these aspects are basic to achieve mental hygiene, so physical activity is one of the most useful tools for achieving well-being and personal balance.